Tuscaloosa City Schools searching for additional bus drivers

Tuscaloosa City Schools sweetens deal for bus driver candidates
Published: Jul. 22, 2022 at 3:59 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 22, 2022 at 6:50 PM CDT
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - The Tuscaloosa City School District is a system with around 11 thousand students. More than 78 hundred of them are scheduled to ride the bus. Now the challenge is to find drivers to carry them all.

We are just mere weeks away from the start of another school year, not long before the school buses to begin rolling.

“We’re always hiring,” said Tuscaloosa City School District Transportation Director Ron Schappacher.

Therein lies the challenge for Ron Schappacher. He needs 10 additional drivers and hopes the bonus of one thousand dollars will do the trick. In fact, it’s working already. Six have already been hired. Three more are in training right now.

“We probably won’t have them in time for school but we’ve already made accommodations for that and made some adjustments for routes,” said Schappacher.

Starting pay is $22 an hour.. that’ll jump 4% in August. Drivers drive four hours a day, but not before undergoing training.

“There are community requirements out there now and that’s an additional step they used to not have to do,” said Schappacher.

A servant’s heart with a good dose of kindness are some of the traits of a good school bus driver. Ron Schappacher says he faces turnovers which is not unusual at the end of school year every year.

“We adapt every year. We’ve had more openings now that we ever had but we do have a lot of people applying as well so that’s a good thing.”

The school district hopes to fill the ten by the first day of school, which is August 10th.

Over on the county side, Tuscaloosa County School District leaders say they’re in good shape but could always use additional drivers.

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